THE Government’s climate change risk assessment states that flooding is the greatest risk our country faces from a changing climate. Last year demonstrated that. We had a drought followed by the wettest summer on record.
THESE past few days I’ve found myself standing in a couple of very interesting places; last Thursday I was at the Academy of Urbanism Congress dinner at the magnificent Alhambra Theatre in Bradford.
WITHOUT any shadow of a doubt, we live in a global economy. There is an important debate to be held about the cost of living based on the domestic policies.
WE are in severe danger of committing an act both unwise and discreditable, if not shameful, over the future of those Afghan interpreters who have been supporting our A rmed Forces for the past decade and longer.
HARRIET Harman can hold all the meetings and cross-party talks she likes, but those who make television programmes will still do what they want. That said, the Labour deputy leader’s latest hobby horse – campaigning to keep older female presenters on our screens – is a worthwhile cause, because a new census finds that only 18 per cent of British television presenters are women over the age of 50.
SCHOOLS should be places of enjoyment and pleasure in learning. But many seem to have lost their sense of humour, buried under piles of data and spread sheets.2 comments
In these hard times freelance people like me are looking for new ways to make a bit of cash; having discarded the idea of being a George Clooney Barnsley Lookalike (in certain lights only), a naked Yorkshire butler (in certain lights only) and a ballet dancer (in certain tights only) I’ve hit upon the idea of a Young Ian McMillan minibus tour, visiting significant places from my childhood.
THE incomparable Sir Alex Ferguson’s 1,500-game reign at Manchester United, a landmark that will be reached when he leads out his team for the final time this Sunday after a 10-day public farewell, is even more remarkable when one reflects on the state of world politics in 1986, the year that he joined the Old Trafford sleeping giant.
THE Government has come under attack for supposedly directing EU funds originally designated for regions in the North of England to Scotland in a bid to win the Scots over before the upcoming independence referendum.
ONCE again, a gang of Asian men has been convicted of grooming and sexually assaulting vulnerable girls as young as 11 – and once again the authorities have tied themselves in knots to try to convince us this has nothing to do with race or religion.1 comment
UNDER a full moon 70 years ago tonight, Lancaster bombers of 617 Squadron Bomber Command took off from RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.
I WANT to talk exclusively about the current destruction of NHS Direct, a successful, safe and popular service, and its replacement by 111 – I hesitate to call it a service – that has proved to be a shambles in many parts of the country.
PATRIOTIC, ebullient, confident and most definitely unstuffy, was ever a modern Royal more designed to impress America than Prince Harry? His official solo trip across the Atlantic marks a turning point, not only in how we regard our “clown prince”, but how the rest of the world sees him too. As Americans never tire of telling us, what they think today influences what everyone else thinks tomorrow. And a foreign tour which takes in the White House, Arlington military cemetery, the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and touring Manhattan on a double decker bus with David Cameron is not just any foreign tour. This one will go down in history.
Dear Alex, Do women actually like women? I know this seems a crazy question to ask, but recently it seems that I’ve attracted a lot of haters because of my success. Is it just me or a phenomenon of the 21st century?
The Summer-born debate moved on apace again this week. For years it seems it just wasn’t recognised as a broad educational issue, beyond perhaps the concerns and reasonings of individual parents. I have a June birthday myself and I never once clocked that the others in my year somehow had a chronological and developmental advantage over me. In fact I was also unaware of the debate as a new parent of two small boys born in August and July respectively. But when the eldest attended his first day at nursery, it suddenly became obvious. What were these giant children doing here with my toddling tot? Surely some mistake had been made? A few Googles later and I became very aware of the possible consequences of my wife and I having been habitual autumnal conceivers. Survey after survey found that not only did being born between May and August put you at an educational disadvantage in your early years, the stats showed it often stayed with you for life. Of course there are exceptions but the data is becoming very clear – even in professional sport there’s a dearth of summer-borns who make it to the top – the physically more developed autumn and winter children naturally catching the eye early on and that early success not just begetting a positive attitude but also access to better tuition.
IT’S SATS for thousands of 10 and 11-year-olds across the UK.
SOCIETY has made massive strides to help vulnerable adults to become integrated members of the community taking up roles in the workplace, entering mainstream education and being active within the areas in which they live.
CHRIS Huhne, the former Liberal Democrat minister and leadership contender, has been released from prison after serving two months of an eight-month sentence for perverting the course of justice. He said prison had been a “humbling and sobering experience”.
Bernard Ingham: Until we recover our sovereignty, Britain will suffer from the politics of indecision
What do British politicians believe in any more? With two years to go to a general election, I’m blessed if I know. This is another extraordinary achievement that Margaret Thatcher has taken to her grave.1 comment
I HAD a fright last week. All I was doing was paying for some labels in an office superstore. I turned round and there, in front of me, was a woman in a tent. It was the full nine yards, if not 15 or so, nothing exposed but a tiny slit of eye. When she spoke it was clear she was British. And I felt a stab of absolute fury.
WALKING down Whitehall yesterday, I fought my way past the usual crowd of protesters. There were anti-war demonstrators, campaigners for human rights in India, and the less well-known “Stop Ignoring Lyme Disease Patients Now” coalition.
MY lovely producer on my Radio 3 show The Verb (Fridays at 10pm, but you already knew that) is a bit of an intellectual and for ages she’s wanted to do an Intellectual Special on the show. I was initially wary because I still harbour a distrust of the word “intellectual”, which may secretly harbour a distrust of showing off about learning. I love learning, of course, but you don’t want to show off about it. That’s not very Yorkshire, is it?
IF David Cameron ever settles down to watch The Apprentice, hoping to see the cream of the crop of our talented, ambitious entrepreneurs, he must surely bury his head in the Downing Street sofa and weep.
TODAY, the Communities and Local Government Committee, which I chair, is visiting Leeds as part of our inquiry into the private rented housing sector.
NICK Clegg’s opposition to the reform of adult-child ratio limits demonstrates the difficulties of reaching agreement on the contentious area of childcare and pre-school education. Once largely left to families and a small market sector, childcare is increasingly a political issue.
My wife and I were on holiday years ago in a little bed-and-breakfast place somewhere in Scotland; at the next table to ours in the breakfast room was a family with a boy who could be described as “precocious” or “forward” or, less charitably, as “a pain in the region of the neck”.
I SOMETIMES wonder why I go to church. Of course, if I didn’t, the Bishop would eventually send some big boys with cricket bats round to the vicarage to have a serious conversation with me. That’s one incentive. And I do thoroughly enjoy meeting up with the folk I know there. Usually.2 comments
NIGEL Lawson has undergone a remarkable transformation since he was Chancellor of the Exchequer in the 1980s – both in his physical appearance and his political views.1 comment
FOR those who travel on the delightful Blubberhouses to Otley road, the attractive Yorkshire stone pub in Newall with Clifton is a familiar sight. The Roebuck, as it is again called, also known as the Spite due to a feud between neighbouring pub landlords, has served as a stopping point for travellers as well as a community pub for many years.1 comment
IT is a row which William Shakespeare, never averse to a bit of controversy himself, would have enjoyed. Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, is in trouble for suggesting that teachers leave out the boring bits of the Bard and cut straight to the action. She reckons that the start of Shakespeare’s plays can be so tortuous that pupils end up “gritting their teeth” to get through them, so she is advocating a pick’n’mix approach, telling teachers to focus on the most engaging elements.
GEORGE Osborne has set great store by the need to rebalance the economy as the UK tries to scrape its way out of the downturn. One might have expected this to have involved real support for our stricken manufacturing sector. Indeed, the Chancellor himself said he wanted to see Britain “held aloft by the march of the makers”. And yet the Government has missed a series of opportunities to re-energise ailing UK industries.
IT is easy to see the appeal of an interest-only mortgage. It is a plan that gives certainty to budgeting and enables applicants to obtain a larger property than they might otherwise be able to afford.
There can be few creatures on earth quite so selfish as the human parent.
LET this be a warning to all who write themselves or others off prematurely.
WE have the privilege of living in a free society, in which the rights of the individual are not determined by their gender.4 comments
NO matter what you think of his politics, Alex Salmond is a man of ambition. He believes in the capability and talent of Scottish people and Scottish businesses. And he thinks that if they can make more decisions for themselves, Scots will be able to achieve even more.3 comments
THE cries outside my window are impossible to ignore.2 comments
THERE’S usually very little going through my mind at 7am. It’s like a big shop at closing time. Everyone’s gone, apart from a cleaner hoovering quietly in the background. The shutters are half way down and the last customer is being ushered out into the street.
LIFE goes on. Three small one-syllable words; 10 little letters. In the end, most of what I believe can be encapsulated in those three words: life goes on. I always take it to mean that life is like one of those moving floors you get in airports: it carries you along, no matter how much baggage you’ve got, it sweeps you onward. Until you get to the end, of course, and you have to get off. But I’m not thinking about that today.
Many years ago we stayed as a family for a week in a guest house in Weston- super-Mare; we’d never been to that part of the world before and I suspect my dad chose it because he liked the name.
NOT very long ago, large parts of Yorkshire were dotted with monuments to the industrial revolution. Colliery “pithead” winding gear was as common a sight in South and West Yorkshire as the white-tipped hop houses were on the Kent Downs.
MORE than anything else, the Labour party is today haunted by the challenge of how to regain economic credibility.
SHOULD convicted criminals have access to subscription television channels in their prison cells that many law-abiding taxpayers on the outside cannot afford?1 comment
LET me ask an overwhelming question: Why is there no cure for cancer? We need more innovation obviously. But why don’t we have it?
I HAVE read some daft things about fashion in my time, but never such a load of nonsense as that which surrounds “dressing the Royal baby bump”. With two children of my own, I am fully aware of the sartorial challenges faced by a woman in pregnancy, but give us a break.
“I’M not going to vote. They’re all the same and it never changes anything.” We are sure to hear this response regularly as reporters cover this week’s local elections, at which turnout is likely to be well below 40 per cent. Younger people are particularly likely to feel that voting is a waste of time. “Politicians do nothing for us,” they often say – perhaps with some justification. But do these voters – or non-voters – stop and think why that is.1 comment
THE call by Iain Duncan Smith for pensioners to pay back their winter fuel payments and other benefits is well-intentioned, but is likely to prove rather unpopular with senior citizens.1 comment
ONE person has a stroke every five minutes in the UK. Thanks to the wide-reaching “FAST” advertising and ‘Make stroke a medical emergency’ campaigns initiated by our charity, as well as medical advances, stroke mortality rates have halved over the last 20 years.
SOONER or later, if I do not suddenly kick the bucket with my clogs on, I shall require the close personal services of the NHS. This is the destiny of the aged. Unfortunately, it is becoming more of a threat than a promise.1 comment
THESE are challenging times for those charged with providing leadership within the public sector.1 comment
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Weather for Yorkshire
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 6 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: North west